Ahmedabad, Gujarat – Jain Doctor Association (JDA) and Sabarmati Jain Shvetambar Murtipujak Sangh, DRDO, Sristi, IIM-A and Gujarat Vidhyapith and a team of scientists from Defene Institute of Physiology and Applied Sciences (DIPAS), have undertaken a scientific study to see the effects of voluntary and complete fasting on metabolic homeostasis’. A link has been made between science and religion because of the coming together of spirituality and science.
50 Jain female and male volunteers have take part in the study which has been scheduled during ‘Paryushan Parva’ — a religious week of Jainism during which Jain’s undertake fasting. Those actively involved in the study are, Professor Anil Gupta from IIM-A, Dr Sudhir Shah from JDA, and Professor Purnima Mehta from Center for Jain Philosophy of Gujarat Vidhyapith.
A group of 50 volunteers aged between 5 and 68 are being closely studied. They have either accepted fasting for one day, three days (known as Aththam), eight days (known as Aththai), 16 days and for 30 days (known as Maskshaman).
Jain sadhus Acharya Gunratna Maharaj Saheb and Acharya Rashmiratna Maharaj Saheb have prompted and organized such a study. Acharya Rashmiratna Maharaj Saheb said, “Every religion has talked about the importance of fasting. It works as a process to clean and purify the soul, which is related to karma. In Jainism, a one day fast lasts for 36 hours and one cannot take food or water after sunset.”
Comprehensive benchmarks have been done for the research. Dr G Ilavazhagan, director of DIPAS, said: “We have been conducting medical test on volunteers who had taken three days, six days, eight days, sixteen days and thirty days fasts, every two to three days. We will continue doing so till they are back to the normal diet. The outcome of the study will take some time.”
He said, “We are doing comprehensive testing of functioning of various organs of body like brain, heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys. The study includes physiology and biochemical parameters that include studying cerebral blood flow, neuro-psychological analysis, lung functioning, blood pressure, heart rate through ECG, EEG tests and test on liver and kidney.”
“As this is the first-of-its-kind study, we want to reach a meaningful conclusion. The results of the study can be applicable to astronauts and defence forces who fast for a longer time in specific situations,” said Ilavazhagan.